‘i carry your heart with me’ -E.E.Cummings

(Poem No.46 of my favourite short poems)

E.E. Cummings ( or ‘e e cummings’) (1894-1962) was an experimental American poet with a distinctive style, but nevertheless very accessible.  I previously blogged his poem … maggie and millie and mollie and may
Cummings’ poetry often deals with themes of love and nature, as in the following lovely poem . . .


i carry  your heart with me


i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                  i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

BY  E.E.Cummings



The Birth Of A Poem

[ Prompted by Davy D’s recent question on the GoDogGo Cafe website, entitled . . .    ‘Are You A Poet?’  ]


Poetry Breathe Life



Generated from the furnace
Of a fervent mind
A poem defines itself
As a jewel
Precisely cut
Precious and lustrous
Poised above a ring of gold
Encircling thoughts
And reflecting
In its faceted faces
Feelings and emotions
Otherwise ill-expressed

The poet
The visionary
Frames the template
Bringing life to contemplation
Substance to inspiration
A peasant in the fields of the imagination
Cultivating conceits
Ideas and concepts
Labouring at the word-face
Crafting thoughts into expressed truths
Weaving feelings into reasoned words
Bringing all to fruition in
The gemstone of creativity




Brian Patten – Mary’s Lamb

(Poem No.44 of my favourite short poems)

Brian Patten made his name in the 1960s as one of the Liverpool Poets, alongside Adrian Henri and Roger McGough.  He has written over fifty poetry books for both Adults and children.   Patten’s style is generally lyrical and his subjects are primarily love and relationships, but I have taken this, slight, but amusing poem, from one of his earliest collections of poems for children ‘Thawing Frozen Frogs’.

Marys Lamb


Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow,
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.

She went into the butcher’s,
Came out with some lamb chops.
I would never follow Mary
Into any kind of shops!


Brian Patten (From: ’Thawing Frozen Frogs’ – Puffin Books, 1992; Illustration by David Mostyn)


Stevie Smith – This Englishwoman

(Poem No.38 of my favourite short poems)

STEVIE SMITH was born Florence Margaret Smith in Kingston-upon-Hull in 1902.   At the age of three she moved with her parents to Palmers Green in North London where she lived until she died in 1971.

She apparently acquired the name “Stevie” as a young woman when she was riding in the park with a friend who said that she reminded him of the jockey Steve Donoghue.

Perhaps her best known poem is ‘Not Waving But Drowning’.   She often accompanied her verses with her own drawings.  One such poem which I particularly like is very short but with an amusingly descriptive illustration  . . .

Stevie Smith-Englishwoman


This Englishwoman is so refined

She has no bosom and no behind.




Today I am ‘having a go’ at the Etheree poetic form.  It is somewhat similar to the Cinquain and the Rictameter, both of which I have tackled previously.   The Etheree is a ten line form ascending in syllable count for ten unrhymed lines, and it should focus on a single idea or subject.    Thus the syllable count is in the form:  1.2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 
This can be altered to give a Reverse Etheree:

The form is attributed to an American poet, Etheree Taylor Armstrong of Arkansas (1918 – 1994).  Little seems to be known of her life except the poetic form she devised.

Notes adapted from ‘The Poets’ Garret’ et al.  

I have attempted both forms below – on the subjects of ‘Idleness’  and  ‘Life’ …


IDLENESS – A Reverse Etheree

Today I vow to spend in idleness,
to do no more than listen keenly,
allow the world to speak to me,
while I, in turn, consider
which way my life now  leads,
trying to find peace
within my mind
that will see
my life


LIFE – A Regular Etheree

in truth,
defeats me.
Midst storm and stress
I struggle to keep
that equilibrium
which holds me in its stillness,
waiting with some trepidation
for that final push to reach the stars
where my disquietude will cease to be.


Verses and sketch by:  Roland (WHB)





Design … WHB – 2017

(Poem No.32 of my favourite short poems)


That money talks

I won’t deny.

I heard it once,

It said, “Goodbye”.

By Richard Armour

(Quoted from: ‘The Funny Side – 101 Humorous Poems – edited with an introduction by Wendy Cope.)


Richard Willard Armour (July 15, 1906 – February 28, 1989) was an American poet and author who wrote more than 65 books.   Two of his best-known quotations are . . .

Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long,
has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.

 Beauty is only skin deep, and the world is full of thin skinned people.



Winter-Birker Fell-Cumbria4

‘Winter at a Cumbrian Farm’ … Pen and Ink – WHB. 2017

(Poem No.31 of my favourite short poems)

A poem by Edward Thomas (1878-1917)

A very short poem, perhaps the shortest of my favourites.   Unseasonal as it may be, ‘Thaw’ nevertheless merits its place in any list of beautiful short poems, and I do not apologise for including it here, in the middle of a beautiful Spring season.   Edward Thomas wrote some of the finest poems of the early twentieth century, many of them composed between 1914 and 1917, that is during the course of World War I.  He eventually lost his life at the Battle of Arras, aged only 39, in 1917.    He is often thought of as a War Poet, but in fact many of his poems dealt with the beauties and vagaries of the natural world.  Perhaps his best known poem, also short, is ‘Adlestrop’. (q.v.).  Below I quote the four lines of his poem ‘THAW’ . . .



Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flowers of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass.

Edward Thomas

Edward Thomas … 1878 – 1917


‘In MAY’ by W.H.Davies

William Henry Davies or W. H. Davies (3 July 1871 – 26 September 1940) was a Welsh poet and writer. Davies spent a significant part of his life as a tramp or hobo, in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, but became one of the most popular poets of his time. The principal themes in his work are observations about life’s hardships, the ways in which the human condition is reflected in nature, his own tramping adventures and the various characters he met.  (Wikipedia).


Not exactly seasonal perhaps, but today I felt like looking forward to the Spring …



Caedmon’s Story: PartsVI, VII



After my examination
Which, I was told,
My divine gift,
In humility
I accepted this new role
No longer a toiler in God’s farmyard
But now become a monk novitiate
Tutored in biblical tradition
In the classic stories
God had bestowed
In His scriptures
Encouraged to
Make music with words
And voice,
To reflect the stories
From Genesis
To The Last Judgement.

My chief desire
Through all my words
Was to redirect my fellow man
From love of sin
To love of good deeds,
To altruism
To tolerance
And righteousness.

The new found confidence
Granted to me by God’s
Gave me the will
To sing
To follow the harp,
My trembling words
Colouring the air
Gripping my listeners,
Binding them to the message
Within the spell of my songs.


In Old English
In the vernacular of my calling
And under the tutelage
In matters of the scriptures
Of Hild’s scholars
I continued to compose
To recite
To sing to the harp.

In time
I took my vows
And became a monk
Enriched by recognition
Of my gifts by my fellows
I led a devout life
Given to God
And to his servants on earth
Expressing my joy
In my heart-felt words
All coloured
Through my imagination
With images of the life
And landscape
Which I knew
From my own surroundings
These, transcribed by my brothers,
And spread through them
To other foundations across the land.


As I now know
My end approaches
I have fallen ill
And during my fever
Unusual as it was
I had a premonition of my death
This allows me
I am told
As a revered follower of God
To receive my last Eucharist.

This I now
My pillowed head
In full knowledge of
Promised Peace
Hoping I have been true
Throughout my life
To my calling
As Herdsman
And Poet.
And that
In due time
This will deliver me
Into God’s presence.


Whitby Abbey Ruins in Silhouette . . . Watercolour Wash … WHB – 1991

Tomorrow . . . ‘ Caedmon’s Hymn’ – the only extant poem known to be by Caedmon


Robert Herrick (poet)


Born Cheapside, London in 1591
Died:  Dean Prior, Devon, in 1674, aged 83.
Educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge
Noted 17th Century Cleric and Poet

… The illustrations and script are my own recently re-discovered student work …